Towards an ethic of "inescapable situations"

The presence of the other as "face" in Emmanuel Levinas

  • María Lucrecia Rovaletti Universidad de Buenos Aires


In connection with the traditional principles of Bioethics, we wonder if they are able to make us understand the terminal patient and those who look after him and his family, or if it will be necessary to "go backwards" (Schritt zuruck) — to speak in Heidegger's terms — up to reach that unavoidable principle that guides and inspires the application of the others. The thought of Emmanuel Levinas can place us near an answer. In fact, he insists that it is the "other" in his face the one that it is imposed with its own strength, as a being essentially ethic and before its presence the only response is to recognize him/her as constitutively "indigent". Precisely, before any other theory or any other argument, the "other" is presented to me face-to-face, his own presence is already existence of his acknowledgment, it is a call and a appeal to responsibility. Since Ethic demands primarily a complete dedication of all the person, that is to say a radical commitment of reason, will and feelings, we ask ourselves in front of these patients to get for them a new shelter. Serenity, availability, comforted mood among threats, patience, gratitude and hope may become founding virtues of interpersonal relationships (Bollnow).

How to Cite
ROVALETTI, María Lucrecia. Towards an ethic of "inescapable situations". Phainomenon, [S.l.], n. 13, p. 9-18, apr. 2007. ISSN 2183-0142. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 20 may 2024.